TUCKER, GEORGIA, US— The American Feed Industry Association’s (AFIA) Pet Food Conference covered the regulatory and trade outlook for the US petfood industry and other industry topics.

“Nearly 250 professionals from all facets of the pet food industry participated in the AFIA’s virtual Pet Food Conference this week, proving the industry’s yearning for quality education events and drive for continuous improvement is ever-present despite our ongoing battle to end the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Louise Calderwood, director of regulatory affairs at the AFIA. “The AFIA Pet Food Committee set a new bar for our annual conference, bringing together an outstanding lineup of speakers who challenged us to think differently about how consumers make decisions on their pets’ nutrition, how we approach future growth opportunities at home and abroad, and excited us to think about what future pet research will reveal.”

The virtual event also included discussions on the role of behavioral economics in improving a company’s bottom line; the need for diverse ingredients to meet shared sustainability goals throughout the food and agriculture industry; the US Food and Drug Administration’s (FDA) work to streamline ingredient review approvals and bolster its safety inspection process; and potential opportunities and roadblocks that will influence near-term trade deals.

Speakers covered how the pet food industry will change and look following the COVID-19 pandemic. Also featured were dogs trained to detect diseases such as COVID-19 and ovarian cancer.

Participants listened to pre-recorded sessions from the Association of American Feed Control Officials on its mid-year meeting, which took place in mid-January; the latest pet food production data from the Institute for Feed Education and Research; and the changes the Biden administration may bring to the US trade policy from the AFIA.

The AFIA also honored two with the 2021 Friend of Pet Food Award during the conference. Scott Baker, marketing manager at SEM Minerals, LP, virtually presented the awards on Jan. 26 to Galen Rokey, of Wenger Manufacturing, Inc., and Michael Panasevich, of Summit Ridge Farms.

The 2022 AFIA Pet Food Conference will take place Jan. 25, 2022 in Atlanta, Georgia, US.